We were tasked with bringing a dish to a family Thanksgiving gathering, and rather than my usual dessert category, I wanted to make an interesting savory appetizer. With Dear Husband's help, it was decided that I'd start with a puff pastry base and make two incarnations, both laden with sausage: one with bratwurst, and one with andouille (Cajun smoked sausage).
The bratwurst variation used a special seasonal sausage made with Spaten beer by our local German deli and restaurant, Siegi's. We used Siegi's for the Cajun version, also. While choosing our sausages, we tasted a few kinds of cheese available at the deli to determine the best pairings. Jarlsberg (like Swiss) was chosen for the bratwurst and smoked cheddar was chosen for the andouille.
A test run of cooking helped me decide what other toppings would pair well. Sauerkraut and onions were a no-brainer for the brats. The andouille was a little tricker. Thinking back to my favorite Cajun dishes, bell pepper repeatedly popped up as an ingredient. I used both green and yellow bells. I also tried and really liked diced sun-dried tomato- it added richness.
The veggies were sauteed in butter before the diced sausage was added and heated through. Then the mess was spread onto a sheet of puff pastry and sprinkled with cheese before baking according to the puff pastry package directions. With the heavy load of toppings, baking times were a little longer than expected, but still worthwhile.
While the puff pastry was a little limp underneath, the overall effect was achieved and the appetizers garnered rave reviews. Next time, I might put squares of pastry into mini muffin tins and make little pouches instead of a big pizza style sheet.
|Spaten beer bratwurst. Achtung!|
|Smoked andouille sausage. Ha eee, I gah-ron-tee!|
|Andouille with yellow and green bell pepper.|
|Diced sun-dried tomatoes.|
|Bratwurst with red onions.|
|Puff pastry on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.|
|Bratwurst, drained sauerkraut, red onion, and Jarlsberg cheese.|
|Andouille, bell pepper, sun-dried tomato, and smoked cheddar cheese.|